Nigeria to check capital flight in ICT sector

Adoba Echono, Abuja

Nigeria looses 2 billion dollars annually to capital flight in the ICT sector.

This according to the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA is largely due to several years of dependency on foreign ICT hardware and software.

The Acting Director-General of NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji who spoke in Abuja at the Stakeholders forum on the promotion of ICT local content said that the capital flight was also due to the non usage of local ICT tools in the country.

He said that Nigeria is a big country and her population is a great advantage to her adding that if Nigerians would patronize made in Nigeria goods and services the market would enable the growth of the country’s ICT sector.

“Nigerians overtime developed the habit of not using products made in the country but NITDA is developing measures to ensure that the local content policy is enforced,” he said.

Dr. Olatunji disclosed that the agency had started the implementation of local content, as it had set up an office to implement the policy to oversee what is happening with the soft and hardware sector in the country.

“Part of what we are doing today is to also look at the mechanism for measurement in terms of patronage how much of this local product are we patronising in the country.’

“Yes we have manufacturing companies certified by us and from time to time NITDA goes to these factories to see what they are doing in terms of the standard what they are rolling out,” he explained.

Dr. Olatunji said that NITDA was focusing on young innovators developing applications and solutions to see how they could take their ideas to the market to ensure that they become entrepreneurs and not just people who develop without selling.

He said the aim of the forum was to encourage stakeholders in the ICT enabled services to have a synergy and to see the need patronise local content in the sector.

“We expect that after harmonising all these local content into effective utilisation, we want to see a situation whereby in the next few years ,we are doing minimum of 50 per cent of local content in Nigeria.”

“This is  in terms of software, hardware and  even human capital services in ICT in Nigeria ,then you will have many companies coming to do business here and retain our money.’’

National Scan

Dr. Olatunji said the agency was working on a national scan ICT programme to be able to measure the Nigerian ICT progress in terms of impacts, the level of usage and even what is being spent so as to chart the way forward.

He said there was no such  accurate  figures before so it had been  quoting from diffident sources adding that “ we want a local source now that will say this is our own in Nigeria, these are the facts and figures from this country.

Dr. Olatunji appealed to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to direct all MDAs in the country to patronise Nigerian ICT goods and services.

Economic Diversification

In a message, the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu said that the use of local content was dear to the heart of the present administration especially with emphases on economic diversification.

Mr. Shittu reiterated the need to leverage on the power of ICT in every sector be it agriculture, education, health and manufacturing.

The Minister disclosed that the government in its efforts to enhance the sector in the country had put in some structures and framework that will support the growth if ICT industry in Nigeria and one of it is the local content policy.

He urged all stakeholders to support the move and increase the contribution of ICT to the nation’s GDP in the face of dwindling revenue from oil.